Safer cycling 'will benefit retailers'

Making roads safer for cyclists will help New Zealand's retailers, a Canterbury University professor says.

The comment, from Department of Geography Professor Simon Kingham, follows a raft of cycling accidents over the summer - including the death of Auckland cyclist John Tangiia, 37, earlier this month.

"There is significant evidence showing people who cycle to shops spend more money," Prof Kingham said.

"The main beneficiaries are non-cyclists as it gives them more choices."

Prof Kingham called on the Government to improve road conditions for cyclists, highlighting research which showed traffic was the biggest obstacle for those keen to get on their bikes.

"The evidence is clear. Make people feel safe on bikes and people will use them.

"Painted white lines are just not safe acceptable for the cycling community. Research carried out at [Canterbury University] shows that fear of traffic is the biggest barrier to people cycling. The solution is to provide physical separation from traffic through protected cycle lanes where cyclists are physically separated from traffic," he said.

Each year, an average of more than 300 cyclists require hospital treatment, and about 10 cyclists die as a result of crashes.

"It is never acceptable, but some injuries and fatalities are inevitable," he said.

- Teuila Fuatai of APNZ

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